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02.11.2020

GOLF TALK

 

Andy Sullivan (European Tour pro) – Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Open (October 2020)

“It’s very picturesque – some of the holes over that gorge are absolutely phenomenal. I’d love to get in touch with the architect and find out how he’s seen a golf hole on seven – it’s fantastic. I really enjoyed it. I walked the front nine yesterday and played the back nine today. Nothing but admiration for the place, I really like it. It’s a golf course where if the weather gets up it’ll play tough – there’s a lot of versatility to it. It’s very beautiful. It would be nice to come, bring the family and not play golf.”

 

PAPHOS, CYPRUS – OCTOBER 29: Andy Sullivan of England on the 1st hole during Day one of the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Open at Aphrodite Hills Resort on October 29, 2020 in Paphos, Cyprus. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

 

Cabell B. Robinson – Aphrodite Hills Golf Course architect (October 2020)

The original concept was to connect the two plateaus via a major bridge, walking across, looping 5 or 6 holes and then returning to west side via the same bridge. Bridge was too expensive, environmental concerns etc.

Acceptable compromise was a lower profile road crossing, thus the long to the third fairway/members tees.

Problem! Master plan, housing considerations, northern location of the crossing, and an acceptable course routing — all conspired to force me to look for a different way back.

On my various visits to the site I had noticed a nice natural shelf down inside the canyon, surrounded by olive trees. Ostensibly inaccessible, impractical to include in my initial plans for the course.

Then the bridge disappeared, so a closer look was needed.

The setting was spectacular, the area large enough, only minimal “shaping “ would be required, and the result could be an island-type signature par 3 for the project. So, the major obstacle — the creation of an acceptable green complex— appeared surmountable.

Now all we had to do was to find a way down from 6 Green to 7 and back up to 8 tee.

Aphrodite Hills’ quintessential site engineer, Zenon Papaloizou, questioned the sanity of this weird American golf course architect, requesting politely more than once a plan for the proposed cart path. Hopefully as politely as he had been, I told him no, give James McLeod ( my Scots-born construction supervisor) and me a track- mounted mini backhoe and we would build it. THEN he could gps it to plan as an as-built.

James and I spent a couple of days tracking old goat paths up and down the canyon face, eventually deciding on what we felt would be a plausible and build able solution. And then the mini-excavator inched and clawed its way from the ford at the bottom of the gorge up to the road behind 6 green. With stout protective guardrails, speed bumps, and some texturing it has proved to be relatively safe. At the the very least it gets you from A to B, and it’s a hellofa ride !

Halfway down, we managed to carve out some small platforms for tees. Not ideal for a short par 3 but about the best we could do. And it’s an awesome shot from there.

Fortunately the cart path from the green on up to the eighth tee was far easier, especially thanks to the tunnel under the entry avenue to the development.

With the considerable faith of a non golfing project engineer, the experience and determination of a golf construction supervisor, and a bit of imagination all around, the creation of hole number 7 was, as we say, «a piece of cake».

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